My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This wasn’t what I expected at all. In a good way. I expected it to be a lot slower than it was, though it did get slow in some places but for good reason.
Maddie is the daughter of the guy who helps change the way the world works. When school’s become the target for terrorists, Maddie’s father makes an online curriculum to make schools digital, the world starts turning to online contact and stops face to face activities. Even nature is fake. Not to mention the food.
But when Maddie meets Justin, he begins to change the way Maddie sees the new world of 2060. Interactions are part of being human and you can’t always hide behind a computer and techonology.
Maddie was an interesting character. She was stubborn and sometimes immature, but also had a naiveity about her that made me really warm to her. She was strong headed but allowed herself to realise when she needed to form a different opinion. However, a lot of what we were ‘told’ about Maddie, I didn’t get to see about myself. Like in one scene we’re told she’s confident, but she spends most of the novel second guessing herself and the feelings of those around her. Not very confident to me.
Justin was a swoon worthy love interest. I loved the way he was portrayed. And the ‘will they won’t they’ had me interested in their relationship until the end. And seeing as it was quite a long book, that’s a big accomplishment. I liked that he was reserved and kept his distance. Made me like him even more.
Though there are some scenes where it’s mainly about Maddie and her relationship with Justin, there are lots of other scenes that’ll keep you interested. Especially with the new technology we’re introduced to. My only concern with all the new aspects of the novel introduced is that it’s not really described very well. I had a hard time picturing it all. I wish it had been further explored.
Another aspect that worried me about the novel was how centered Maddie’s life was around Justin. She worried more about him than she did about her mum who for reasons I won’t spoil, had to leave and maybe never see again. Especially as they were close, Maddie doesn’t often spend much time thinking about this. It’s all Justin. She feels like something inside her is missing when he’s not there. It makes me nervous that this’ll be one of those ‘you’re nothing without the love of your life. Give up everything for him’ books. Because without him, Maddie does nothing. The only thing she does do, is to save him.
Though I do appreciate that she has a loyalty to her father no matter how he acted towards her. It gives Maddie more dimensions, but at the same time, it’s a book device to keep the plot from finishing too quickly. And it’s obvious.
I didn’t see Clare as a very interesting character either, nor a very good friend. We didn’t spend enough time with her and so I couldn’t quite believe in her friendship with Maddie as much as I would have liked.
Despite this, Awaken was a very freshing, interesting and original read. I enjoyed it a lot. 4.5 stars for sure. I can’t wait to see what the sequal holds.